Biophysical Society Newsletter - May 2015





Public Affairs

During the event, the SET working group hon- ored Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) and Congress- woman Donna Edwards (D-MD) with the George E. Brown, Jr. , Leadership Award for leadership in science, technology, and mathematics on Capitol Hill. Shelby serves as the Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agen- cies and has fought to secure critical funding to construct state-of-the-art, world class STEM education facilities across the state. Edwards serves as the Ranking Member on the House Science, Space & Technology Committee’s Subcommittee on Space, as well as on the Subcommittee on En- vironment during the last Congress. She has intro- duced legislation to expand research and develop- ment, domestic manufacturing, and infrastructure spending to create jobs and grow our economy. Congress Keeps Sequestration for 2016 In late March, the US Senate and House of Representatives approved their budget resolutions for Fiscal Year (FY) 2016. The budget resolutions serve as a blueprint for Congress, setting their overall spending level for the coming year. Both the Senate and the House version of the budget resolution keep sequester level caps on spending in place for FY 2016, which makes it nearly impos- sible to provide any meaningful increases for dis- cretionary programs, like research funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and National Science Foundation (NSF). The Congressional plans are in stark contrast to the White House’s FY 2016 budget proposal, which includes small increases for all the science agencies. The House and the Senate planned to work out the differ- ences in budget plans in April, but the resolution does not go to the President for signature. Rather, it functions as an internal planning document for Congress to follow as it goes about appropriating money for 2016. The Biophysical Society will continue to advocate on behalf of our members by urging Congress to undo sequestration, raise the caps on non-defense discretionary spending, and reinvest in scientific research.

BPS Members Advocate for Science on Capitol Hill

BPS members Eric Sunberg, Ryan Himes, and Tianqi Zhang on Capitol Hill

On March 17 and 18, Biophysical Society mem- bers Eric Sundberg , the University of Maryland School of Medicine, Ryan Himes , Loyola Univer- sity, and Tianqi Zhang , University of Wiscon- sin-Madison, joined over 320 other scientists, engineers, and business leaders making visits on Capitol Hill as part of the 19th Science-Engineer- ing-Technology Congressional Visits Day (CVD). This annual event is sponsored by the Science- Engineering-Technology Work Group (SET), of which the Biophysical Society is a participant. The purpose of the visits was to educate Congress about the important role federal research funding plays in innovation and competiveness; explain the harm sequestration cuts have had to research programs; and express support for sustained and predictable federal funding for research. Himes, Sundberg, and Zhang drew from their own expe- riences and labs to illustrate these points. Overall, the visiting scientists visited the offices of members of Congress from 45 different states. Himes, Sundberg, and Zhang, along with BPS staff members Ellen Weiss , met with staff in the of- fices of Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Mark Kirk (R-IL), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Ron Johnson (R-WI), and Congressmen Danny Davis (D-IL), and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), John Sarbanes (D- MD), and Mark Pocan (D-WI).

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